Tuesday, July 27, 2010

homemade clothes soap aka laundry detergent

i started making my own clothes soap earlier this summer.  its so simple and much cheaper.  plus, its better for the environment.  

3 ingredients

1 55 oz box of arm and hammer washing soda
1 76 oz box of 20 mule team borax
10 pack of 4.5 oz ivory bar soap

(you dont have to use ivory.  you can also use bar soap that is specifically made for the laundry such as zote or fels-naptha)

the recipe

1 bar of soap
1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda

using whatever you have, you will need to shave down the bar of soap.  you can use a hand grater or even a food processor.  i used my ninja mixer.  it made the process quick and fairly simple.  i added the soda and borax at the same time which made the soap a little drier and easier to break down.  

once everything is pretty well mixed, i emptied into a container and stirred until having a power like this...

i usually make larger batches so i dont have to do this so often.  today i used 5 bars of soap, 1 1/2 cup soda and 1 1/2 cup borax.

you only need to use 1 tablespoon per load, depending on how nasty the clothes are.  :)

this can be used in  front loading machines too since this detergent is very low suds.   

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

homemade ravioli... semi-fail

i tried.  i put forth a good effort.  it wasnt a total fail but it wasnt a success either... 

so, ive had this pasta maker for a good year now.  this was the first time i used it :)  it was much easier than i thought it would be but having an extra pair of hands would have been nice when rolling out the sheets of dough.

ravioli ingredients

4 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup water

filling ingredients

1 green pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon basil
1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, drained WELL
1 egg

(ok, the filling ingredients were just random things i had around the kitchen.  i didnt follow a certain recipe)

1. in an electric mixer, first mix together eggs and gradually add flour and water.  continue mixing until formed into a ball.  on a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a ball and kneed until elastic and smooth.  set aside in a covered bowl.

2. in a small bowl, combine filling ingredients.  make sure all ingredients are drained well or it will make your ravioli slimy and impossible.  (trust me) :) 

3. take dough and divide it in half and divide in half again.  take each section and make into a rectangle.  
4. on the widest setting, roll each rectangle through the pasta machine 3 or 4 times. 

5. dust the counter with flour before laying out sheets of dough.  brush each sheet with an egg wash.   (oops, forgot to mention youll need another egg for that.  i added just a little milk also)

6. ok, so this is the part that got tricky for me and where i slowly started failing.  my filling wasnt drained as well as i thought it was.  i (literally) did step 5 and 6 four times.  you take a tablespoon full of filling and drop it on half of the sheet of dough.  space out each tablespoon of filling about 2 inches apart and then fold over the other half of the dough to cover the filling.  note: there are no pictures of this process.  this part turned into a disaster for me and i was so messy and frustrated that i couldnt pick up the camera.  i ended up scraping off the filling and having to reroll the dough because the filling wasnt drained enough, it was a big sloppy mess.  

(fyi - this is what its supposed to look like)

7.  this is how mine turned out.

no, not horrible but not how i wanted them to turn out.  

8. cook the ravioli in boiling water for 10-15 mins.  

i chose an alfredo sauce and honestly, they werent too bad.  since they were enormous, i only ate two.  maybe i will know better next time and be able to make these with a little more ease.  
(hahaha, yeah... right)

Friday, July 16, 2010

banana cake with fudge frosting

it just sounds amazing, doesnt it?

this recipe i found on the better crocker website.  it sounded too good to pass up so i thought, why not?  

banana cake ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter (i used applesauce)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large)

fudge frosting

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter (again, used applesauce)
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. heat oven to 350ºF. grease bottom and sides of rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches.  in medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.

2. in large bowl, beat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup applesauce with electric mixer on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally.  (i used my kitchen aid.  btw, i hope you dont think im bragging about my amazing, beautiful kitchen aid mixer.  im just letting you know... trying to be very specific.)  :)  beat in eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla. gradually beat in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk until smooth. stir in bananas. pour into pan.

3.  bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. cool completely.

(at this point, the pups were very bored with my running around the kitchen.  they were not impressed with my skills.)

4.  meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, mix 1 cup granulated sugar and the cocoa. stir in milk, 1/4 cup applesauce and the honey. heat to boiling, stirring frequently. boil 3 minutes, keep stirring; remove from heat. beat in powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla with spoon until smooth and spreadable. spread fudge frosting on cooled cake.

ok, ill be honest.  i put the cake in the fridge for about 15 mins and then decided to dump the frosting on it before it totally cooled.  i put it back in the fridge and it seems to be just fine.

there is just as much frosting as there is cake!!! :)

whole wheat veggie calzone

so, the other day i was a little frustrated with not having a job.  while im still not thrilled about being unemployed, days like today make it worth it.  even if its just for a little bit....

ive found a new food blog that ive become quite fond of.  tammys recipes is the blog of a stay at mother who just started blogging about what she is making.  she has a lot of great recipes and i have a feeling i will be making a few more of her creations.

the recipe i tried out today were the calzone.  i figured calzones couldnt be that difficult and i was correct :)

Calzone Dough Ingredients:

1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 to 3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon dry yeast
Filling Ingredients:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup pizza sauce (i didnt have pizza sauce so i used tomato sauce with some basil, rosemary and garlic thrown in)
1/3 cup roasted red pepper vinaigrette
1 package morning star meal starters chicken strips
1/2 cup yellow corn

1 large carrot, finely shredded
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cups shredded mexican blend cheese

1. prepare whole wheat calzone dough by putting ingredients (in order listed) into a large bowl (i used my kitchen aid), using about 2 cups of the flour. stir to combine; continue adding flour and knead mixture.  knead 5 minutes. let dough rest while you prepare the filling.
2. in a skillet, cook the chicken strips.  remove from heat.

3. in a large bowl, mix filling ingredients. 
4. divide dough into 6 equal pieces. roll each piece into a 7-inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  (dont break out the ruler... i just rolled mine out to be thinner than a pizza crust but thicker than a tortilla)

5. top half of each circle with about 3/4 cup of the filling mixture, spreading to within one inch of the edge. fold dough over filling and crimp edges to seal, leaving a half-circle.

6. place calzones on greased cookie sheets.  bake at 375 degrees until bread is cooked and filling is hot, about 25-30 minutes. cover loosely with foil part way through baking if calzones start to brown too quickly.

mine are still in the oven as we speak.  i probably will wait until richard is home to eat anyway.... i did have some leftover which wasnt a problem at all.  i took some of the pita bread i made a few days ago and put the filling inside.  it was quite tasty!! :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

red bean lasagna

for the record.... being unemployed was fun at first but now it is really starting to suck.  im bored, broke and about to pull my hair out.  i can only clean the house so much and its too damn hot to be outside actually do something productive.  im not a big tv watcher so i rarely turn it on during the day.  argh.  

sooooo... lasagna.  really simple and a little different.  it doesnt require too many ingredients either.

1 15 oz can of red beans, drained
1 clove garlic, minced (i used a little more)
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained (i used diced tomatoes with onion and green pepper)

  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (i didnt have this so i used a shredded mozzarella and provolone mix) its safe to say you will probably use an 8oz bag for the entire recipe.
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles

1. preheat oven to 350.
2. heat a skillet with some olive oil and add garlic.  
3. mix in beans, tomatoes and green peppers.  cook for about 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
4. in another pan, melt butter and gradually add flour.
5. slowly add milk and then the cheese until slightly thickened.
6. in a 7x11 pan (you can use a 9x9 pan as well) lay 1/2 of the bean mixture on the bottom of the pan.  top with 3 of the lasagna noodles and then add another layer of bean mixture.  
7. before topping with the remaining noodles, sprinkle on some of the shredded cheese mixture that was used earlier.  
8. after topping with the remaining noodles, cover with sauce and add some more shredded cheese.  (you can never have too much cheese) :)
9. bake for 20 mins or until slightly browned.

so, to be honest... i havent tasted this yet.  instead of baking it, i put it in the freezer for later.  the day i decide to cook it though, i will let it thaw in the fridge first before putting in the oven.